Saturday, October 24, 2009

AL MVP. And The Winner Is...

My duties as a member of the BBA include casting votes for all the major annual awards, and no award in all of sports is more major than the coveted title of MVP.

The BBA voting is set-up essentially like the "real" voting:
  • Votes are made for the top 10 candidates in a weighted vote (ie. first place votes get 10 pts, second place 9 pts, and so on).
  • MVP is awarded for a plethora of reasons- not always based solely on statistical standings. Other factors to be considered include, overall value to team, versatility, and sportsmanship.

Now, with a little help from my buddy Prof from over at Rays Index, here are Rays The Stakes' votes for the 2009 AL MVP (in reverse order):

10. Miguel Cabrera (1B, Detroit). Miggy put together another great season, posting 34 doubles and 34 homers to go with his 103 RBI, .324 BA, and .396 OBP

9. Zack Greinke (P, Kansas City). I don't generally consider pitchers eligible but Greinke was more valuable to his team than any other player in the league (don't believe me? His WAR (wins above replacement ) was 9.4)

8. Jason Bartlett (SS, Tampa Bay). As someone who covers the Rays I got to witness JB's magic on a nearly daily basis, and let me assure you these numbers aren't fluky: Jason had 29 doubles to go with his 30 stolen bases and his .320 BA, .389 OBP, and .879 OPS. Bartlett also played great defense from the SS position (it helps to have Longoria eating up space to your right, I'm sure), earning himself a .962 fielding percentage.

7. Kevin Youkilis (1B, Boston). Youk has shown versatility all season, playing on both corners of the infield as well as playing some outfield if necessary. Youkilis posted good numbers this season; 36 doubles, 27 HR, and 94 RBI. He also posted an OPS of .961.

6. Alex Rodriguez (3B, New York). A-Rod missed a portion of the season, and to be quite honest nearly missed this list, but The Prof from Rays Index convinced me that he belonged, reminding me that: "the Yankees were 13-15 before he made his debut on May 8th. They were a team in big trouble at that point. They went 90-44 after that, with A-Rod putting up very good numbers while playing on a hip that might still need surgery." Point well taken- A-Rod slides in at number 6.

5. Chone Figgins (3B, Los Angeles). Figgins garnered a lot of attention this season (convenient considering it's a contract year) and earned a place on the list with impressive numbers: 30 doubles, 42 steals, .298 BA, and .395 OBP. Figgins also managed to finish with a .968 fielding percentage from the hot-corner. His WAR was solid at 5.9, as well.

4. Derek Jeter (SS, New York). Jeter is the prototypical baseball player; a good clubhouse guy, plays the game the right way, is consistently one of the best players in the league, breaks decades old records every year, and does it all with a smile. What a shame that he plays for New York. Jeter finished the year with another impressive stat line: .334 BA, .406 OBP, .871 OPS, and even at the ripe old age of 35 he still managed to record 30 stolen bases (his most since 2006 (34)).

And the Big Three (drumroll please)...

3. Ben Zobrist (Everywhere, Tampa Bay). Zobrist has single-handedly redefined the term utility player. Zorilla is th edefinition of versitile as he can be a legitimate starter at 5 different positions, and played at least one game at not 4 or 5 but 7 different positions this season (that's all of them folks (except catcher/pitcher of course). Zobrist tallied 28 doubles to go with his 27 HR's and his 91 RBI. Zorilla put together a decent batting line; .260 BA, .346 OBP, and an OPS of .948. His 8.5 WAR was the highest of any position player in the majors (even Pujols).

2. Mark Teixeira (1B, New York). Tex finished the regular season with 43 doubles and tied for the league lead with 39 HR's (Carlos Pena), he also amassed a league-leading 122 RBI, all while maintaining a .292 BA, a .383 OBP, and an OPS of .948. Mark also led the league in total bases for the second time in his career (2005) with 344. Tex has been a major cog in the Yankees wheel and I'm nearly certain they wouldn't be on the cusp of World Series birth without him. And remember kids, I before E except in Teixeira.

And the winner is:

1. Joe Mauer (C, Minnesota). Mauer has amazed everyone with his performances both beside and behind home plate this season. Mauer led the league in batting average almost from the start of the season and finished with a league-leading .365 BA to go along with his league-leading OBP (.444), league-leading SLG (.587), and his league-leading OPS(1.031)... well, you get the hint. Mauer was a near lock for the MVP by August 1st, and he didn't disappoint. Congratulations Joe on a season well played!


*other players receiving consideration for the top 10 included: Gutierrez, Halladay, Crawford, Morneau, and Longoria.

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